Hello there! It's so nice to meet you.
By Carolina Pichardo
Now that you’ve moved into your new home, unpacked the boxes and started to settle in by putting everything in its proper place, it’s time to get to know your new neighborhood and meet your new neighbors.
Getting to know your community is very important, especially if your family was upset the second the moving company arrived. Not all your neighbors will be like Mr. Rogers, so take the time to get to know them. Whether they’re noisy, pleasant or always getting into your business, these people will define how happy you’ll be in the years to come.
Although it might be a little difficult to get the process going, it can actually be a lot of fun and a great way to learn about the amenities of your new location. There are several places to begin, such as your child’s school or your local community center, but the Internet and local businesses are also great resources. The main thing is to get out there, make an effort and we promise that you be on your way to having a beautiful day in your new neighborhood.
Start with Family and Friends. If you’re fortunate enough to have family and friends in the neighborhood, then take advantage of that direct connection. These are people that already know the best schools, supermarkets and how to get around the area, so don’t be afraid to pick their brains. This is also a great opportunity to meet their friends, as well as a way for them to show you around in your area. Chances are that they’ll be more than happy to show you the ropes!
Community Events and Publications. Most towns and cities, regardless of size, have a local newspaper or community board available. These provide great events and activities, such as fundraisers, picnics and parent conferences that could help get your search started. Because of the scheduled meetings, forums and contact lists, this is the simplest and most organized way to meet those living in your neighborhood.
Social Networking and the Internet. These days, the Internet makes meeting new neighbors easier than ever. Social networks, such as Facebook, Meetup.com and Twitter, bring together neighborhoods with a common interest, cause and skill. Although joining these requires a more proactive approach (researching groups, participating in forums, etc.), it’s the best way to find local “niche” groups. There is something for everyone, including knitters, actors, writers and Karaoke singers.
Coffee Shops, Bars and Small Businesses. Despite the Internet, coffee shops, bars and even laundromats are still the most effective and best spaces to meet new neighbors. That’s why it’s important to walk around your new community and learn about the businesses that keep it running. These aren’t just resources that you share with others; they’re also the life of your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at how much you could learn by just waiting in line, enjoying a favorite drink or even finishing several loads of laundry.
Hosting Your Own Party. Often the Internet, community events and newspapers don’t get you the results you want, which means that you’ll have to take the matters into your own hands. If this is the case, then go ahead and have your own soirée, such as a housewarming party. Invite other families, co-workers, and the few people that you’ve already met from your new neighborhood. More than likely, these people will bring along other friends and before you know it, you will have a large network of people under your roof. Usually, all it takes is for you to open your home so that others could do the same.
Give It Time. Like all communities, your new home has an identity and personality of its own. Large cities, for example, have a different beat than the smaller towns. That’s why, regardless of what approach you decide to take, remember that meeting new neighbors does take time. You’ll find that some people are very easy-going and open, while others just aren’t that simple. However, continue to participate and remain vocal in the community, and you will soon be attending children’s birthday parties, school rallies and other cultural events.